deepmind protein folding

An evolutionary leap for life sciences: when AI transcends human crowds

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The announcement that Google’s DeepMind has won the Critical Assessment of protein Structure Prediction challenge is important in a number of ways.

Being able to predict a protein’s shape from its amino acid sequence could massively accelerate the development of new medicines. Speaking to Nature:
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customer service journey

Weaving together microjourneys to create compelling customer service journeys

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The phrase “customer journey” has become part of everyday business vernacular, bringing a customer-centered and design thinking perspective to the mainstream.

Customer engagement and intelligent automation company Pega uses the phrase “microjourney” to focus on the elements that comprise the customer journey. This is useful both in being able to design a better experience for customers, but also in optimizing each of those elements so they can be woven together effectively across situations existing and new.
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future of work

Five important charts to understand the future of work and society

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MIT’s Taskforce on the Work of the Future provides some of the most well-researched insights we have on the future landscape of work.

It has just released two very interesting reports: The Work of the Future: Shaping Technology and Institutions and The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines.

The latter report in particular provides deep insights and updated research on key factors driving the future landscape of work, culminating in a series of policy recommendations that should be required reading for politicians and government leaders.
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The shift from reactive to proactive to preemptive customer service

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In healthcare the biggest – and very long overdue – shift is from reactive to proactive healthcare: instead of fixing people when they get sick, helping to keep them healthy.

This idea of shifting from reactive to proactive is also being applied to customer service by the very interesting enterprise technology vendor Pega , which pushes it further to frame “preemptive” customer service, avoiding any need for customers to seek assistance.
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future of humanity

Why we must have faith in humanity, now more than ever

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One of the deepest questions we can ask is:

Are humans fundamentally good or bad?

Of course the answer is neither and both.

Yet day by day how we feel about this question fluctuates with our moods and what we observe in the world.
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The shift to ‘virtual first’ organizations will undoubtedly continue

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COVID-19 has shifted most organizations in the developed world to predominantly virtual work.

The question is what happens from here.

Of course there many unknowns around how long it takes to resume work practices similar to 2019 and before, the timeline for a potential vaccine or other measures that may support that return, or indeed whether we will ever see the complete easing of today’s social distancing.

Many organizations are explicitly or implicitly waiting for a return to ‘normal’ workplaces, in the meantime doing the best they can while most of their employees are forced to work from home.

However an increasing number of organizations are clearly stating that they expect never to return to work as it was before.
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Designing future organizations based on ethical foundations for AI

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I recently spoke at Tech: The New Era conference, which was part of London Tech Week, in a conversation with Kriti Sharma on the ethics of AI.

I had previously interviewed Kriti as part of the OFX/BBC Storyworks Where the world is moving podcast series I hosted in a very interesting episode on AI ethics, so I was delighted to have the chance for another fascinating conversation with her.

My core message was that we have critical decisions to make in how we use and implement AI. We must start by thinking through the ethical issues and potential implications of AI, and from that designing the future organizations that will in turn shape all of society and the role of humans in creating value.
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Future of the gig economy? Braintrust IT freelancer platform is run by its users using tokens

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In our relatively recently connected economy, platforms have appropriated an outsized proportion of value creation. That is a problem.

There have been many initiatives to build user-owned platforms, supported by tools such as the Platform Co-op Development Kit, and a handful of small scale successes such as Up & Go and Stocksy.

Now Braintrust, an IT freelancer platform, has just raised $18 million to support a very interesting approach, issuing blockchain-based tokens to its users to give them effective ownership of the platform.
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In this decade civil war and lack of trust in government could drive cryptocurrencies

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A very interesting article in Coindesk, The Currency Cold War: Four Scenarios, explores four possible scenarios for the global currency landscape in the year 2030, based on possiblities that future of money guru David Birch proposes in his new book The Currency Cold War.

I was honoured to be interviewed for the article alongside luminaries such as Brett King and Heathervescent.

We asked a handful of futurists to share some thoughts on a few scenarios [for the future of global currencies and the internet], mostly in the name of a fun thought-experiment. The real world consequences are serious, though. “This is not just fun, it’s critically important,” says futurist Ross Dawson. “The world of money could change fundamentally in the next 10 years, and the implications could be massive. This is something we really need to be actively thinking about.”

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In COVID times: the value of keeping journals and leadership for organisational reinvention

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I was delighted to be a guest on Zanele Njapha‘s Future-fit Fridays podcast, with her dynamic style helping bring out some of my strongest-held beliefs.

You can listen to the interview on Apple or Spotify, or the full transcript is below.

Zanele opened by asking me about my practice of keeping a journal, following up by asking me if this was particularly relevant today. I agreed.

These are very challenging times for almost all of us and so this is a time when we can get value in reflecting, by writing and capturing our own thoughts

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